The programme came virtually one week after a history documentary by the delightful Lucy Worseley (as Marmite to some, I know) on the creation of Anglican evensong. Naturally it centred on the work of Tallis and Byrd. Readers of this blog will have seen my posts only a month or two ago about these composers and also touching on Jacobean London. I am bemused at finding that somehow I have unwittingly stumbled into a zeitgeist moment, where themes of faith and the making of English identity have suddenly emerged. It is remarkable how coincidences, odd juxtapositions, sometimes appear, like brief bubbles on an ocean of phenomena. Of course , given the size of that ocean, they are not remarkable at all, but that is our perception.
Meanwhile, my choir has begun its rehearsal of Advent music. Amongst the programme we have Remember, O Thou Man by Thomas Ravenscroft (1582-1633). Ravenscroft is now remembered, if at all, as the collater of several books of popular music, a proportion of which have entered the folk canon; but he wrote or set hymns and psalms too, of which this is one. It has an admonitory tone, and tune, for all its final promise of redemption. It seems to me only too apt for the uncomfortable times the BBC has been illustrating. But in Deutromelia and his other collections we have a useful reminder that there was some light amongst the darkness. For which we can all be thankful.